CHANDIPUR (ODISHA): In a major leap towards achieving a robust Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) shield, Indian defence scientists on Friday successfully test-fired an indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.
The endo-atmospheric missile dubbed as Advanced Air Defence (AAD) was blasted off nearly four minutes after a modified version of Prithvi missile mimicking a target missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the interceptor missile was fired at about 10.17 am from the launching complex-4 (LC-4) of the Wheeler Island near Dhamara in Bhadrak district while the target was fired from LC-3 at ITR in Balasore district at about 10.13 am.
Terming the mission a 'copybook' success a defence official said the single stage interceptor fitted with directional warhead and other advanced systems has destroyed the target which was mimicking incoming enemy ballistic missile at less then 20 km altitude.
"The incoming target missile was tracked by long-range tracking radars developed with Israeli help. Then the radar in turn conveyed the threat to the endo-missile battery fitted in Wheeler Island and subsequently the interceptor was fired and destroy the target," he said.
The 7.5-metre tall AAD interceptor is a single-stage missile, powered by solid propellant, with terminal homing seekers and inertial navigation system. Having a diameter of less than 0.5 meter, the missile weighs around 1.5 tonne. It is designed to destroy the target missile at an altitude between 15 to 20 km, defence sources informed.
The first test of the AAD interceptor was a success on December 6, 2007. It however had failed to take off during a trial on March 15, 2010. As a precautionary measure, the state administration had alerted fishermen not to venture into the sea during the time of test firing.